Anti-Dobbs Movement Overshadows CNN's "Latino In America" Special

CNN's much publicized series was largely eclipsed by controversy over CNN's resident xenophobe, Lou Dobbs.

Pobre CNN.

The cable news network hoped its "Latino In America" special -- a two-night "journey into the homes and hearts of a minority group destined to change America" -- would replicate the success of its Black In America series last year, which was watched by more than 13 million viewers. Instead, the series has been eclipsed by a growing controversy over CNN's resident xenophobe, Lou Dobbs, and an expanding movement to get him booted off the air.

Last Sunday, a headline in the New York Daily News read: "CNN's Ramping it's 'Latino in America,' But it's Getting Ruined By Lou Dobbs."

The report quoted Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, a national pro-immigration reform group, who said, "the truth is that CNN already airs a nightly program on Latinos in America. It's called 'Lou Dobbs Tonight', and for 260 hours a year CNN provides air time for anti-immigrant distortions and anti-Latino propaganda."

A couple days later, the Associated Press caught wind of the fact that the much ballyhooed special -- it has its own Facebook page -- virtually ignored "its own commentator ... whose persistent advocacy against illegal immigration has angered many Hispanics."

The story quoted immigration activist Roberto Lovato, who calls Dobbs the "gigantic, anti-immigration elephant in the room at CNN."

"Rather than address him, they decided to just avoid the issue," Lovato said.

Lovato heads up, which has spearheaded the movement now called "Basta Dobbs."

"Lou Dobbs uses his platform on CNN to spread myths and misinformation about Latinos and immigrants, even as his network is wooing Latino viewers," the Basta Dobbs website reads. "It’s time we said enough (that's "basta" in Spanish). Join us in calling on CNN to get rid of Dobbs!"

Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet's Rights and Liberties and World Special Coverage.
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